Photo: White House

I had a chance to watch Barack Obama’s speech before the NAACP just now. It was a very powerful speech and I admit I was moved when he quoted from the Black National Anthem by James Weldon Johnson at the end of his talk. Gave me goosebumps. There’s more to the story of his appearance yesterday, however.

Here’s the New Black Power in action. Dig (Read the full article at Essence.com):

Several hours before President Obama gave his much-anticipated speech at the NAACP centennial convention in New York City, he spoke before another probing audience of African-Americans aboard Air Force One. Accompanying the President on the quick flight over from Washington, seven reporters representing various Black media outlets questioned the President about his plans for improving conditions for African-Americans, and what he says is the single most important issue they face today.

The conversation, held in a brown leather-interior conference room on the jetliner, opened on a familiar critique-the President’s resistance to implement a policy specifically addressing racial disparities, such as the 14.7 percent Black unemployment ratehttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/2.gif.

Asked about Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s recent criticism of the President for failing to promote a race agenda, Obama replied dryly, “First of all, I think Mr. Steele should focus on what the Republican Party’s going to do.” But he stood by his position that fixing the economy overall is the most urgent thing he can do for the Black community, touting provisions in his recovery package that kept teachers and police officers employed, provided extended unemploymenthttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/2.gif insurance, and created new jobs. “All these things help everybody, but obviously they’re especially important to African-Americans in this economy.”

That said, the President continued that he is, in fact, targeting communities most in need through the new White House Office of Urban Affairs aimed at improving employment and housing in American cities. One of his urban policy proposals, called Promise Neighborhoods, focuses on children in low-income neighborhoods with early childhood education and weekend community centers.

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